After months of planning, the 2016 Global Leadership Conference hosted by Young Presidents’ Organization became a reality in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, marking the first time the annual event has been hosted in the Middle East and North Africa Region.
With the theme “Vision to Reality,” YPO International Chairman Santiago Sanchez welcomed more than 900 incoming chapter, regional and network officers to Dubai. YPO’s annual GLC conference focuses on peer-to-peer collaboration and leadership education.
“You, as servant leaders, are at the core of the member experience,” said Sanchez. “How you welcome, integrate, engage and excite members impacts their experience and growth. And, in this process, you learn how to be better leaders by leading your peers – which is also truly unique to YPO.”
An inspiring opening ceremony featured Indian artist and storyteller Nitish Bharti, who fashioned a brief history of Dubai and a welcome to YPO via an interactive display of music and sand animation.
Host City Chair Murtaza Hashwani and Honorary Host City Co-chair Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of Dubai Tourism and the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority, extended a warm Arabian welcome to their peers and highlighted the great energy and entrepreneurial spirit exemplified in Dubai.
“Here at the crossroads of East and West, this city has grown to become one of the world’s leading centers,” said Hashwani. “Our strong infrastructure, world-class business community, global connectivity, and truly multicultural society provide the perfect backdrop for global education and interaction.”
“Here in Dubai, we seek to continually attract some of the world’s brightest minds, who bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience,” said Almarri. “As I look around this room, I see many of those minds with us today.”
Officer Workshop Chair Anastasios Economou set the tone for the next two days as he questioned his fellow champions. “Why are we here? We are here to inspire one another.”
Sanchez closed the opening plenary session with a message for his fellow champions as they embark on their leadership year. “Today – we say ‘Yes.’ To the opportunity to serve our peers. To the possibility of becoming better leaders. To the hope of our future – for our business and for our family.”
Members from 88 countries are spending two-and-a-half days in Dubai networking, building relationships with fellow leaders from around the globe and exchanging ideas in interactive workshops designed to inspire them as they begin to lay the groundwork for their leadership year.
In addition to workshops, Tuesday will feature member-led conversations, which provide open discussions on subjects ranging from creating high performance boards to scaling projects that make a positive impact on communities. Wednesday will introduce Leaders Across Borders (LAB) to the GLC, during which a group of members will share their inspiring, personal stories of overcoming extraordinary challenges.